Justice Emmanuel Ahmadi of the special criminal court division of the High Court in Banjul on Wednesday acquitted and discharged deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer newspaper and his co-accused. Alhagie Jobe one Mbye Bittaye left the court free men.
Since his arrest on February 7th, 2013, Alhagie Jobe remains in state custody. Mr. Jobe was arraigned on a five-count charge. This includes making an act with seditious intention, seditious publication, possession of seditious publication and giving false information to a public servant.
Mbye Bittaye was arraigned on a single count of making preparations to do an act with seditious intention.
Both Jobe and Bittaye maintain their innocence throughout the trial. `
In handing down verdict, Justice Amadi blamed the prosecution for failing to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts. He said the authorship of the alleged document found with Alhagie Jobe was inconclusive. Justice Amadi said the prosecution’s failure to prove who authored or produced the said article also did not help the case. He said it is required by the law to prove this crucial fact even though the document was recovered from the accused at the time of arrest.
Justice Amadi however said the content of the recovered document is unfounded and irresponsible.
The trial judge also acquitted the accused persons on false information charges, describing the charge as “vague and not specific.” He said there was no evidence of consequence on the accusation of false information or record to prove the essential elements of the charge.
On the charge of reckless driving, the judge said it was the arresting officer who made Alhagie Jobe’s car to swerve.